Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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Picking Yourself Up When You're Feeling Less Than Vibrant (Mama Style)


Dearest Friends, 

Let me start by saying good job! A lot of the time people never notice when they're not feeling so hot emotionally (and in-turn physically) and just sort of write it off on "life". Just the fact that I'm typing this and you're reading it means that we're recognizing that misery is not "life". We have options and while our emotions are very real and come from a very really place, perception shift is a huge step on the path to personal happiness. I am not very good at giving myself credit in the every day little miracles that I accomplish. Whether its recognizing my role in a situation or giving myself major snaps for taking huge strides towards positive change. So I really want to focus on the conscious effort that goes into picking myself up!

90% of the time when I'm feeling less-than-vibrant its because I am physically and emotionally dehydrated. When this dryness sets in it means that I am not setting aside the time I need for myself. Self-care is not selfish and its not unnecessary. Going to the grocery store alone to shop for your family is not "me-time". Self care is the conscious practice of setting aside time for yourself to rejuvenate, lick your wounds, re-set, re-consider, and be something that gets that spark in you going again. A lot of moms set this aside for the sake of their children but what they'll soon find out is that your children benefit from your conscious effort to put yourself first. We're not robots- we're people! We don't run simply off of giving ourselves to others! So, with that in mind, we have lots of options on implementing personal love practices into our lives.

Something you can do that takes very little effort and very little time is practice gratitude. This can be tricky when you're in a place of struggling. There are more extreme cases (the loss of a loved one), but for the most part, if you can shift your thoughts for a moment then every moment after gets easier and easier. For example, my daughter has a cold right now. For my partner and I this means shorter sleep cycles, more care (wiping nose, sucking snot, essential oil applications etc) and the overall misery of watching the one you love most struggle with discomfort. Breathing plays a crucial roll in my shift... A deep breath gives me a bit of clarity, and then saying (out loud or in my mind) "I am so happy and grateful....that my daughter's heart is strong and she has parents who love and take care of her so well". The first time I say it, I might shift back to my negative thought... but after a couple more breaths and a couple more times saying it... I can start to think of even more things I'm grateful for! My perception shift becomes one of gratitude and joy rather than frustration or fear. This is small but has been huge for me. A little miracle of self-care right where I am. The negative voices drowned out for a moment of peace.

Whenever I'm feeling less-than i'm also feeling very stuck. Most of the time its indoors in a place where I spent a lot of time (our living room in front of the tv). One of the best things I can do is go outside. When you have littles this can be somewhat of a challenge. Our record is 30 minutes for getting out the door with snacks, a sippy cup, extra diapers, wipes, keys, coffee, wallet, phone, yeah... you get what I'm saying. I'm really lucky to have such a wonderful, supportive group of women who practice self care and hold a lot of the same values that I do for our children. They plan RLAM (run like a mother) where we have a chance to get exercise. Zoo trips are great because they're educational, outdoors and affordable (a zoo pass is only $65 for a whole year). And then there's just park meet-ups where we can chat, hang out and let our LO's run around. If there aren't any events planned, I like to get baby dressed appropriately for weather and put her up on my back with either a woven wrap or an ergo baby carrier. Baby wearing is an excellent way to meet your baby's needs to be close to you while also keeping your hands free! There are many kinds of excellent baby wearing options- you can check them out here. Get baby up on your front/back/hip and take a walk! The fresh air will help you and your little ones feel good.

While we'd absolutely love a weekend of relaxation and retreat, when you've got baby who count's on you at a certain age, that experience can be taken off the table for a bit. I feel encouraged that this state won't last forever and when my darling baby is a bit older I know she'll have a great bonding experience with Dad for a couple of days while I have long, luxurious me time. But if you've got LO's who aren't as reliant on you a weekend retreat or a day-long hike are great options to really get away. This experience helps gain clarity and removes the demands that come with a personal being reliant on you for everything. This kind of pressure is very real and while lots of people out there are making it look easy its not always easy being touched all day long, cried out for, whined at or just plain needed on that level. In order to offer our most genuine support and care for our children the batteries need to be charged and taking time for ourselves is the only thing that's gonna do that!

"Let the soft animal of your body love what it loves" -Mary Oliver

Let go of the guilt. Let go of the "should". Mamahood can be hard and you can only expect so much from yourself. Ask for help when you need it and practice self care. Your vibrant light will be back in no time! What are some things that you do to re-kindle your light?

Love, Michelle

photo credit: cafemama via photopin cc


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